Appointment reminders, while super important to getting patients to remember their appointments, can also become a huge time (and money) sucker. Read on to find out more about what one practice did to fix the problem.
Pediatric Associates of Stockton, located in California, has been in business since 1949. The practice provides medical care for children from birth through age 19. The team of physicians and nurse practitioners focus on prevention and education to promote good health and prevent disease and injury. The practice was looking for a new patient communication solution, and decided to implement Solutionreach. After doing so, they have been able to:
- Save 200 hours of staff time each month
- Reduce appointment reminder costs by 50%
- Increase recall appointments by 14%
Beth Bettencourt, the operations manager at Pediatric Associates of Stockton wanted a new patient relationship management software. The solution the practice had been using was making some changes, so Beth and her team went to work researching other options and decided on Solutionreach.
“We chose Solutionreach because we liked the ability to text patients,” explains Beth. “We knew that would save a lot of time in our practice.”
And Beth was right. Offering patients the ability to text the practice instead of call them cut down on the amount of incoming phone calls immensely.
“About 30 to 40 patients text us every day,” says Beth. “They can send us their questions through a text, and as long as the answers don’t violate HIPAA regulations, or they have given us consent, we can text them anything they need to know.”
Their patients like the convenience of texting the practice, and Beth and her staff are able to answer their questions quickly.
“Our patients love it,” Beth says. “They can text us to get refills of prescriptions, or to let us know they want to schedule an appointment. One mother texted to ask for a copy of her child’s immunization record and we were able to email it right over.”
Beth also takes advantage of the ability to send a group text or email to patients to distribute information about the practice.
“We use group messaging to let them know the flu shot is available, or if we are closed for a holiday,” states Beth. The practice averages about two group messages a month, and targets the messages sent to patients who will find the information relevant.
Texting isn’t the only feature that saves Pediatric Associates of Stockton time. Since implementing Solutionreach, they send recall messages automatically through the platform, saving the time and cost of sending postcards to patients.
“Recalls go faster with Solutionreach,” says Beth. “We can get in touch with more patients through the automated messages than when we had to write out a postcard. And since we aren’t mailing postcards we’re saving a whole lot!”
The practice customizes the settings in the platform, so parents of patients from birth to 12 months receive a recall reminder every two months, and parents with children ages 13 months to 18 years receive one every year.
“Between all the staff we had working on recalls, we’re saving at least 200 hours a month,” Beth states. “And more patients are scheduling appointments. We’re seeing at least a 14 percent increase of patients scheduling their yearly exams thanks to Solutionreach.”
Pediatric Associates of Stockton also takes advantage of the automated appointment reminders through Solutionreach, and was able to cut the expense of reminder messages by about half.
“Before we implemented Solutionreach, we had a program that would make phone call reminders to patients,” Beth explains. “Now Solutionreach is constantly sending out text, email, and phone call reminders to all of our patients, so we were able to cancel our previous service.”
The automated appointment reminders have reduced the number of cancellations the practice was seeing too.
“A lot of our patients will confirm their appointment through the Solutionreach reminder,” says Beth. “And they are cancelling less too. Every morning we review the calendar to check for cancellations, but there aren’t as many as there were before Solutionreach.”
For Beth and the other staff members at Pediatric Associates of Stockton, Solutionreach has been a great investment. “I would definitely recommend Solutionreach to any business,” Beth states. “It’s so easy and convenient. It’s great!”
If you would like to learn more about how to save time when reminding patients of their upcoming appointments, read "How to Text Your Patients the Right Way."